“Banana caramel for Karina!”
Karina jumped out of her seat and walked nervously to the counter. She grabbed her drink and slipped quietly back to her table. If someone had approached her and asked how she was doing, comfortable would definitely not be an answer.
The place was crowded. Some were talking business; others were exchanging the latest they had heard happening around town. One or two sat alone, absorbed in the fruit of another’s imagination, or long hours of research. Karina checked the time on the screen of her phone. This was not her preferred coffee shop to hang out at. For starters, the place she usually goes to has better magazine and newspaper collection; Karina quietly snorted when she saw the magazines that were lined neatly on a white shelf at the center of the room.
‘The banana caramel also has richer taste at John’s.’ She stuck out her tongue in a disgusted manner after taking a sip. The only reason she had come there was to meet up with Lloyd. Karina had just launched an online thread shop a few weeks before, and Lloyd wanted to talk about a possible partnership with his boutique business. Karina wanted to feel excited about this, but she had always been annoyed with Lloyd’s rather flirtatious attitude.
As Karina’s mind began to wander, a guy in a sleek navy coat walked by her table and caught her attention. He was heading to the free charging station at one end of the room. Several phones were lying on the table. He took his phone off its charger, looked at it for a few seconds, and put it in his inside pocket. Karina was trying to figure out what was so striking about the guy, when his eyes caught hers staring. She felt her cheeks grow warm, and hoped he didn’t magically own a sixth sense that could read minds. The guy suddenly winked and smiled at her direction; Karina instantly looked around to see whom he was winking at.
‘Did he just wink at me? What does that mean?‘ When Karina turned back, the guy had already gone. There was no sight of him sitting at any table; Karina assumed he had left the place. She was about to get up and order something to snack on when she saw Lloyd at the doorway. He noticed her looking, and waved.
“Oh my gosh!”
A loud gasp followed by a faint cry suddenly broke from one end of the room.
Karina turned to see what was happening. A young girl was standing at the charging station, frantically scanning the table. “My cell! Oh my gosh!”
One of the servers on duty rushed to the girl and asked her what the problem was. Karina looked on, forgetting the rule of thumb of staring at people: don’t. The girl explained something to the server, her face pale from holding back a cry, her grey eyes wandering desperately around the shop as she talked. They met Karina’s, and Karina felt a pull on her gut as she realized what might have happened. She looked away and pursed her lips. She didn’t know whether or not she wanted to be part of the messy situation.
“Hey, awesome. What’s going on?” Lloyd had already took off his coat and folded it on the seat next to Karina.
Karina once again looked to the girl still standing near the charging station area, and said, “A weird start to our meeting, I guess.”
– cheers to all –